An affordable way to ease back pain and feel like Batman at the same time.

I’ve been putting off trying inversion therapy for years. Every once in a while an inversion table will pop up in the sales papers for $150-200, and every time I think to myself, no, I don’t think I really need that. After all, what if I put it all together, hop on, and instantly hate it? I’m hardly likely to want to go to the trouble of disassembling it for a refund. My mom even offered (begged?) to buy one for me. Still I stubbornly refused.

Suddenly a few weeks ago, I had enough. I’ve been suffering through a bout of severe back pain for the past month and a half or so, spending most of my time being able to do little but lie in bed. It finally occurred to me that now was as good a time as any to finally break down and try inversion therapy. I looked on Amazon and found the Amazon’s Choice one was the Innova ITX9600 Heavy Duty Inversion Table for under $100. Here’s Innova’s video: 

 

It looks legit, if not a little scary, so I went ahead and ordered it. Just a couple of days later it arrived, and I quickly busied myself in putting it together. I’m happy to say that, even in my not-very-mobile state, it only took me about three hours to put together by myself (except for one quick step that requires one person to hold the seat while another screws it in). But now came the scary part. I had to actually get on the thing.

I set the table to my height, 5’8″. I put lace-up athletic shoes on (as per instructions), caaarefullyyy put my feet on the bar and into the ankle clamp, caaaaarefullyyyyy sat back against the table. I slooowly raised one, and then the other arm above my head and… uh, nothing. Nothing happened. Not to worry, though. I figured I’d probably have to set my height a little higher. You see, while I’m *technically* 5’8″, I have scoliosis (well, sort of), and my “real” height is estimated to be 6’0″-ish. Since the inversion table works with your center of gravity, my center clearly hadn’t been found. So I caaa— ok, I’ll stop doing that– carefully got off and readjusted the height to 5’9″ (I figured a slow increase would be best). I tried again, and the table started to slowly move.

I think I screamed. OK, I definitely screamed. When the table reaches its inverted position, set to its beginner angle, it is barely angled at all. However, not being at all used to it, I felt like I was practically upside-down. It is a pretty weird sensation, and I think I lasted for about two minutes… but it was fine. A few hours later I tried it again, and this time I lasted about ten. More than a week later, I’ve graduated to the second inversion setting, and I use it for about 15-20 minutes at a time. My ankles are completely comfortable, and while my back will sometimes hurt on it (like, really hurt), it’s a short-term, good hurt, like a massage or any other sort of physical therapy.

The thing about inversion therapy is that is NOT a cure for back pain, it’s a quick fix. That’s what I like about it. Right now, at this early stage, I can use the table to make my back and sciatic pain go away for a few minutes. My goal is to use the inversion table to the degree and duration that it will take to relieve my pain long enough to actually exercise (shockhorror), thereby strengthening my wasted muscles to actually hold in their lengthened (via inversion) state. Technically, I could do that already with the use of pain relieving drugs, but for me I see two problems with that. One is, while I have zero problem with taking meditation when necessary, I’d like to avoid it whenever possible. The other (more serious, I feel) issue is that, when I take pain relievers, I tend to almost forget about the problem and do more physically than I should, which usually backfires by giving me worse pain later. In other words, I want to relieve my pain by eliminating the problem, not by covering it up.

I know is a little early to review something like this. I should probably give it a few more months to see if my plan works out. But so far, so good. And so far, so good, that I can’t see my opinion changing (I will update if necessary, though). Therefore, a week into it, I’m already giving the Innova ITX9600 Heavy Duty Inversion Table:

1000px-5_stars.svg

It’s cheap, sturdy, easy to assemble, comfortable, and it works. If you’ve ever thought of trying inversion therapy, this is definitely worth your time and money.

Have you ever tried inversion therapy? What has been your experience? Let me know on the comments!

~M

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